Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween Sweets

I just keep improving on making macarons.  It is one of my favorite cookies and everyone that tastes them falls in love with them!  So fun to finally make and make them right!

Creepy Witchy Fingers

An annual Halloween cookie...I love the smiles they bring to peoples faces!

Trick or Treat!

Pumpkin Spice Macarons


Pumpkin spice macarons with pumpkin cream cheese filling.


  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • ¾ cups Almond Flour
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Turmeric
  • ½ teaspoons Ground All-spice
  • 2 whole Egg Whites
  • ¼ cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 drop Orange Food Coloring Paste
  • ¼ cups Fresh Or Canned Pumpkin Puree
  • ¼ cups Cream Cheese, Softened


Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Put a master template under the parchment paper or draw about twelve 1 1/2-inch circles in rows on the paper, about 1 inch apart. Set sheets aside.
Process powdered sugar, almond flour and all the spices in a food processor until finely ground. Sift the mixture through a sieve. If there are more than 2 tablespoons of large chunks left in the sieve, grind them and sift again. Set the mixture aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium speed until frothy. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.
Sift the almond flour mixture over the egg whites. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the almond flour mixture into the egg whites until the ingredients are just combined. Add food coloring to tint the batter. Continue to fold the mixture until it has loosened and falls in a ribbon from the spatula.
Fit a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch round tip and fill the bag with the batter. Using the template as a guide, pipe circles onto the parchment papers.
Tap the bottom of each sheet on the work surface to release trapped air bubbles. Let the cookies stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This allows the cookies to develop their crusts.
Preheat oven to 300 F. Bake the macarons for 10 to 12 minutes, until set but not browned. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the macarons to cool completely on the pans. Once cooled, gently lift half of the cookies from the parchment paper and turn them upside down.
To prepare filling, combine cream cheese and pumpkin puree, and mix thoroughly.
Spoon or pipe a teaspoon of filling onto each of the upside-down cookies. Top with the remaining cookies.

Spooky Witches Fingers


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup whole almonds
  • 1 (.75 ounce) tube red decorating gel


  1. Combine the butter, sugar, egg, almond extract, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat together with an electric mixer; gradually add the flour, baking powder, and salt, continually beating; refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease baking sheets.
  3. Remove dough from refrigerator in small amounts. Scoop 1 heaping teaspoon at a time onto a piece of waxed paper. Use the waxed paper to roll the dough into a thin finger-shaped cookie. Press one almond into one end of each cookie to give the appearance of a long fingernail. Squeeze cookie near the tip and again near the center of each to give the impression of knuckles. You can also cut into the dough with a sharp knife at the same points to help give a more finger-like appearance. Arrange the shaped cookies on the baking sheets.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until the cookies are slightly golden in color, 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. Remove the almond from the end of each cookie; squeeze a small amount of red decorating gel into the cavity; replace the almond to cause the gel to ooze out around the tip of the cookie.
Makes about 60 cookies

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cinnamon-Apple Twist Bread: ABC

This is the ABC challenge for October.  We are baking from the King Arthur Flour site and everyone who has baked this beauty has done a beautiful job...I just had to try it.  It took me a couple of tries to get this bread right.  The first time, I didn't realize that my yeast had expired and I ended up with a heavy rubbery mess (live and learn-right?)  So I gave it another shot.  It takes quite awhile but the end results are worth the effort.  I added a little more apples to the recipe, but I wish I would have even added more.  Next time I will double the apples.  The recipe makes 2 loaves, I made 
one loaf and some beautiful rolls to take 
to share with some friends tonight.  

The loaf is for my husband and step son to enjoy.  I have to manage to keep my mitts off of it!  Wow!  That is going to be hard.  I had my one piece and that will just have to satisfy me.

Next time we are baking Cranberry Pumpkin Rolls...sounds l
like a Thanksgiving treat to me!

Until then,

3 1/4 cups (13 to 13 3/4 ounces) Mellow Pastry Blend or King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) potato flour OR 1/2 cup dried potato flakes
1 heaping tablespoon (1/2 ounce) granular lecithin (optional)
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla OR Sweet Dough Flavor OR Princess Cake Flavor
1 large egg
1 cup (8 ounces) milk

1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) sugar
3 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) Instant ClearJel® powder or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup peeled, grated apple (1 to 2 large apples, 10 to 12 ounces whole)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup (4 ounces) glazing or confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons water OR 2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
Manual/Mixer Method: Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Note: It’s important to distribute the potato flour (or flakes) throughout the dry ingredients so it/they won’t clump when the liquid is added. Add the butter, flavoring, egg and milk, then mix until a shaggy dough forms. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes; this resting period allows the flour to absorb the liquid fully, making it easier to knead.

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes; it should feel slightly sticky and soft. Add a couple of tablespoons of water if the dough feels firm or dry. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise until it's almost doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The amount of time this takes will depend on the temperature of your kitchen; yeast works the fastest at about 85°F, but we prefer the flavor the bread gets from a longer, cooler (about 70°F) rise.

Filling: While the dough is rising, make the filling. Whisk together the sugar, ClearJel powder and cinnamon. (You may substitute 3 tablespoons of flour for the ClearJel; the filling will be runny, but it will firm up when baked.)

Toss the grated apples with the lemon juice, then add that to the ClearJel and sugar mixture. Mix well, and set aside.

Assembly: Gently deflate the risen dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured or greased work surface. Fold it over once or twice to remove the excess gas. Divide the dough in half. Roll the first half into a 10 x 12-inch rectangle. Spread half the filling over the rolled-out dough, leaving a 1/2-inch margin clear of filling along all sides.

Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a log, sealing the edge. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the log in half lengthwise. Place the half-logs, filled side up, side by side on a well-greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Keeping the filling side up, twist or "braid" the two logs together, working from the center to each end. Pinch the ends together. Repeat with the second piece of dough. Cover the twists lightly, and set them aside to rise for 1 to 2 hours.

To Make Rolls: Follow the directions above to the point where you’ve rolled the dough into a log. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough, then cut each log into 1-inch slices. Place the slices cut side up (and down) in well-greased or parchment-lined pans, placing them close together (though not touching) for soft-sided rolls, or about 2 inches apart for crustier rolls. Allow the rolls to rise till they’re puffy.

Baking: Bake the loaves in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes (or the rolls for 18 to 20 minutes), until they’re lightly browned. Check the loaves after 20 minutes and tent with aluminum foil if they’re browning too quickly around the edges. Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool for about 1 hour before glazing and serving.

Glaze: Mix together all of the glaze ingredients and drizzle it over the loaves or rolls once they’re cool. Yield: 2 loaves or about 24 rolls.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Nutella Cresents

 I have a granddaughter that love Nutella, I know, the nut does not fall far from the tree...right?  But anyway, I always make cookies for my grandchildren and send them on their birthdays.  I know Lily also loves what could be more perfect than Nutella rolled up in a nice flakey buttery pie crust? 

These cookies were so easy.  You could cheat and buy some refrigerated pie crust...personally I never use that stuff.  I love to make my own.  I sure hope she likes them!  

Happy Birthday Lily!

Until next time

Nutella Crescents

Yield: 18 crescents


1 9-inch pie dough (store bought or homemade)
1/2 cup Nutella
1 tablespoon butter, melted
coarse sugar


Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
Roll out pie crust into a 9 inch circle (or if it's store the package and unroll the pie crust) and slice into 18 triangles (like you would a pizza).
Spread each triangle with a healthy amount of Nutella. Roll into a crescent, starting with the wide end. Continue till all triangles are filled with Nutella. Transfer crescents to baking sheet, leaving about an inch for possible spreading.
Brush the top of each Nutella crescent with the melted butter and sprinkle generously with coarse sugar. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes, or until they are lightly golden brown.
Remove from oven and serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Pigapalooza 2014

Each year we host a big Pig Roast to celebrate the end of summer/beginning of fall and our wedding anniversary.  We have been married for 4 years now and I have to say that I have married a good man who I know will take care of me for the rest of my life.  I love him to the moon and back!  Enough of that mushy stuff!!    

My husband smokes the pig in the smoker that he built and it always turns out really delicious.  We shred the shoulders and make a big mess of pulled pork doused in my almost famous barbeque sauce.  People actually think I should bottle it!  It is a big hit and the highlight of the party. The rest of the pork is cut up and served in all it's smoky goodness.  
I also make Baked Exploration's Honey Cornbread Muffins....yummmm, homemade applesauce (you gotta have applesauce with pork, right?)  All the guests bring delicous covered dishes and we have a grand time!

I also make a bevy of sweets and desserts! 
 The desserts, my friends, are the reason I am here! 

gluten free chocolate piggy cupcakes

sunflower buttermilk cupcake

caramel apple mini cheesecakes
oatmeal pumpkin cream pies

S'mores Macarons

banoffee tarts
cookie tray

Piggy buns
This year I made my traditional Sunflower Cupcakes, Brooksters and Brown Butter Snickerdoodles.  Along with those tempting treats;  Apple Pie Cheesecakes,  Banoffee Tarts, Gluten-free Chocolate Piggy Cupcakes, Oatmeal Pumpkin Cream Pies, S'Mores Macarons, Sunflower and Piggy Sugar Cookies and I tried to make some adorable little piggy buns.  
It is alot of work but I absolutely love doing this every year!  


Pumpkin Harvest Dunking Cookies: Baked Sunday Mornings

I can't believe that after this recipe there are only 3 recipes left of the Baked Elements cookbook.  I wish I could have baked them all.  I did what I could and 95% of the recipes that I baked were winners!  This cookie was super easy to make.  It is an oatmeal cookie with pumpkin, chocolate chips and dried cranberries added to it.  I didn't have eggs so I substituted applesauce,

 I am not sure if I baked mine long enough because they were very soft...I was expecting a crispier cookie since it is suppose to be a dunking cookie.  
I had them in the oven for 14 minutes and didn't want to risk it any longer.  I am thinking now that I should have. 

I didn't taste them but they smelled wonderful while they were baking away in the oven.  Hubby said they were really good!  I will have to 
take his word for it.

Next up are Chocolate Mayonnaise cupcakes. Not sure yet if I can bake that one without a taste.  We will see how my willpower is that day ;)

To get the recipe go here
And to see what the other bakers did with this challenge go here.

Until next time